STORIES
Faith

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke

by Cheikh Ahmadou Lo from New York

"Only truth exists forever'"
Cheikh Ahmadou BambaThe founder of the Muridiyya (Courtesy wikipedia)
Cheikh Ahmadou BambaThe founder of the Muridiyya (Courtesy wikipedia)

There is no society without leaders. No leader without followers. Society without great leaders is like a body without a soul. History teaches there are many leaders. Some achieved great things. Some did not. Some changed completely the way their societies functioned from negative to positive, from fostering to an atmosphere of danger to one of security. The latter kind will live forever. Their names will pass down from generation to generation. Their doctrines will guide people to the path of righteousness. Their legacies shall be kept as a treasure. Their teachings will influence all of mankind. Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke was one of those persons. He devoted his entire life to serving others. He struggled for fairness, peace and also truth.

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke was known as Khadim Rassoul, the servant of the prophet. Cheikh was born in Mbacke Baol in the kingdom of Baol Senegal, West Africa in 1853. Cheikh was a religious prayer leader, poet, and monk. His father's name was Mame Mor Anta Sally Mbacke. His mother's name was Mame Diarra Bousso. Cheikh was a spiritual person and a Muslim leader in Senegal. He was fighting to promote peacefulness and justice in the world. In 1883 Cheikh founded the Murid Brotherhood to call on people to change the way they were living. It is the largest brotherhood in Senegal. He gave his followers good education. They were highly educated people with discipline and patience. Work as if you will live forever and pray as if you will die tomorrow. That was the doctrine Cheikh taught them. Moreover, Cheikh taught them hard work, love and respect as well as brotherhood. Instead Cheikh was a great freedom fighter. He led a pacifist struggle against French colonialism, but by nonviolence, different from what several Marabout leaders had done. Cheikh founded the holy city Touba in 1888 to keep his followers out of trouble. In 1895 the French colonizers arrested him and sent him to Gabon until 1902. Later they sent him to Mauritania from 1902 to 1907. After that they allowed him to return in Senegal in Thayeen Diolof, a kingdom in Diolof. Finally, the French colonizers sent Cheikh to Diourbel, the capital of Baol, to watch him more carefully. On July 19, 1927 Cheikh departed from the world in Diourbel. His holy body was buried in Touba, the capital of the Murid Brotherhood.

The French colonizers defeated everyone who stood up fighting against them in Senegal, even in all Africa. Soon Cheikh began preaching the new teaching of the Muridism. Many people began to follow him. His power was growing fast, his name spread all over Senegal, even the West Africa. People were talking about him. They were coming at him from everywhere to seek salvation from him. They had no hope to their futures, the only one they thought who could save them was Cheikh. However, that act led some people to have negative attitudes toward Cheikh, like some Marabouts and the sons of those former kings who ruled those little kingdoms divided Senegal. They were bending over backward to prevent Cheikh and his Followers from exercising their rights. Because they realized that if they let them continue to act, they would lose their credibility. No one will follow them. Any person willing to obey their instructions. So they accused him that he willing to wage war or "JIHAD" against the French colonizers as several Marabouts had done, like Al hajji Omar Tall, Samory Toury, as well as Maba Diaho Bah. Meanwhile The French colonials had some doubts about him. They asked Cheikh to kick out his followers. Cheikh refused to do that because that act was against the Islam's doctrine. Later the French colonizers decided to arrest Cheikh and they sent troops to capture him. But the Cheikh's followers were ready to defend him to the death. But Cheikh said "I don't need help from anyone, just from Allah or God. I am willing to serve the prophet Muhamed, I will return to Senegal very shortly." He realized that any problem had never been solved by waging violence, but caused major problems. In other words, during the exile in Gabon the French colonizers attempted several times to execute Cheikh and ruin his teaching the 'Muridiyya' but they couldn't. They failed. They decided to return him to Senegal. That was the first victory of an African guy over those European colonizers. It was the first victor of a single person without help over his enemies. Nevertheless, Cheikh used passive resistance that led him to the great achievement. Cheikh said after his victory over the colonists, "I have forgiven my enemies whatever they did to me for the sake of the one 'Allah' who cleansed me from their accusations."

However, only truth exists forever, then what is popular is not always right, what is right is not always popular. Look at what ALLAH has rewarded Cheikh. His doctrine has been influencing men, women, the elderly and young people. His teaching has been spread all over the world. For example today the Murid Brotherhood is the largest brotherhood in Senegal. Moreover, Touba today is the second capital of Senegal after Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Every year more than 2 millions of people come from everywhere around the globe to remember the day of "18 SAFAR" (it is a day in the Muslim calendar) or the day of departure of Cheikh to the exile in Gabon. Cheikh asked all his followers to remember the day because everything came from that day. He asked his followers to call it "MAGAL" or commemoration. Today the Magal is the biggest event in Senegal, even in Africa. During the period of the Magal, Touba as Mecca during the day of "HAJJ" or Pilgrimage. On the other hand, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba's day takes place almost all biggest cities around the world like New York, Paris, Los Angles and Cincinnati, Ohio etc... and also Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba's house exists everywhere the Murid live. We cannot forget the hard work of the Murid, an evidences for that in Senegal the Murid control almost all of its economy as agriculture and commerce. And the "Modou Modou" (the Senegalese in the diaspora) almost of them are Murid their contribution for development of Senegal is undeniable. Eventually, the Mosque of Touba is the biggest Mosque in the West Africa. It was one of the most important legacies of Sheikh. He asked his oldest son and first khalif Cheikh Mostapha Mbacke to build the mosque.

The Mosque of Touba (Courtesy wikipedia)
The Mosque of Touba (Courtesy wikipedia)

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba is an honor for all mankind, especially the black race. His life was a turning point. He changed completely the way his people were living. He took them from darkness to light. He did all this by using the doctrine of non violence. He was one of the first black people who believed that black skin doesn't denote a chain that pulls you back. He proved that no race is more intelligent than any other race nor is one race superior to another. There is no inferior race. Strong belief in yourself and devotedness are key for everything. So he said "Black skin doesn't imply an ill understanding". Cheikh knew that no one was better than anyone else, so no one should have any special privilege. Man is better than man by having good character. In other words, Cheikh dedicated his life to love and justice for his follow human beings. What he needed in this world is not violence or hatred, but love, brotherhood toward one another. Moreover, Cheikh taught his followers love, respect, and caring, and brotherhood and hard work. In his life you can learn that Islam is not a violent religion. It doesn't prompt violence. It against all acts of violence. In addition, Cheikh was a big man, a man who wrote his name in history by doing positive acts. So he will live until the sun's rising and setting, from east to west. His teaching is unstoppable.

"I have spoken to you, You have heard my words. I have left written scripts to your attention. I have acted under your eyes; My life is my messege" ~ Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke.

Page created on 7/10/2012 10:42:17 AM

Last edited 7/10/2012 10:42:17 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke - MY HERO story written by MY HERO partner, Cheikh Seck from Dakar

Author Info

I am willing to write about Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke, well known as Khadim Rassoul (The servant of the prophet). Cheikh was a great leader. He devoted his life to serving others. He resisted the French colonizers and defeated them by non violence.